A thrilling alien-invasion novel based on a chillingly nefarious premise.

BLOOM

From the Overthrow series , Vol. 1

When a worldwide rain results in alien plant life taking over the Earth, three Canadian teens are the only ones strong enough to resist the invasion.

Anaya, Seth, and Petra have always felt different from their peers on their British Columbia island. Anaya has severe allergies that give her acne and perpetual congestion. Seth is a foster child with scars running up and down his arms. Although pretty and popular, Petra is allergic to water. None of the teens think much about the others until strange black plants begin sprouting all over town after a day of heavy rain—that somehow doesn’t trigger Petra’s water allergy. When the plants turn carnivorous, Petra, Anaya, and Seth are the only ones able to withstand their strange perfumes and their acidic interiors, and they realize they must have something more in common. And then Anaya’s botanist father reveals that the plants came from another planet—and they are in the process of colonizing the Earth. In this fast-paced thriller, Oppel spins a richly drawn, incredibly fascinating world. Beginning with the brilliantly unique premise of a botanical alien invasion, the plot unravels satisfyingly, building readers’ curiosity by creating 10 new questions for every answer given. The book’s one significant weakness is its lack of diversity. Other than Anaya, whose name implies she might be South Asian, the other characters present white.

A thrilling alien-invasion novel based on a chillingly nefarious premise. (Science fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7300-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre.

SHATTER ME

A dystopic thriller joins the crowded shelves but doesn't distinguish itself.

Juliette was torn from her home and thrown into an asylum by The Reestablishment, a militaristic regime in control since an environmental catastrophe left society in ruins. Juliette’s journal holds her tortured thoughts in an attempt to repress memories of the horrific act that landed her in a cell. Mysteriously, Juliette’s touch kills. After months of isolation, her captors suddenly give her a cellmate—Adam, a drop-dead gorgeous guy. Adam, it turns out, is immune to her deadly touch. Unfortunately, he’s a soldier under orders from Warner, a power-hungry 19-year-old. But Adam belongs to a resistance movement; he helps Juliette escape to their stronghold, where she finds that she’s not the only one with superhuman abilities. The ending falls flat as the plot devolves into comic-book territory. Fast-paced action scenes convey imminent danger vividly, but there’s little sense of a broader world here. Overreliance on metaphor to express Juliette’s jaw-dropping surprise wears thin: “My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps. My eyebrows are dangling from the ceiling.” For all of her independence and superpowers, Juliette never moves beyond her role as a pawn in someone else’s schemes.

Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-208548-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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